National Library of Australia

Preview the redeveloped Catalogue before it launches late July.

Due to major building activity, some collections are unavailable. Please check your requests before visiting. Learn more.

Record 1 of 1
You must be logged in to Tag Records
Wawata topu : mermaids of Timor-Leste / Secretariat of the Pacific Community within the framework of SciCO Fish presents a film by David Palazón and Enrique Alonso ; photography by David Palazón, Nelson Turquel ; documentation and research Enrique Alonso ; interviews Enrique Alonso, Nelson Turquel ; translation English: Hector Hill, Enrique Alonso ; translation French: Adeline Mouraud, Aurélie Hamaide ; translation Italian: Giacomo Mencari, Giulia Secondini ; translation Portuguese: Elis Margarida, Márdio Viera, Graça Viegas, Valdo Brüheim ; translation Spanish: Beatriz Marciel, Enrique Alonso & Lola
Bib ID 6492965
Format VideoVideo [two-dimensional moving image, videodisc]
Related Online
Description Timor-Leste : incidentaldoc, 2013 
1 DVD (36 minutes) : sound, colour ; 4 3/4 inches 
Technical Details

System requirements for DVD: computer with a DVD drive. 

video file 


Wawata topu (women divers) are four generations of fisherwomen striving to make a living in the coastal village of Adara, West Atauro, Timor-Leste. Their daily lives, their economic practices and their vital concerns, as well as the contradicting discourses and social barriers they face, are shown in this ethnographic portrait that makes visible their critical contribution to the household economies and the fishing community at large. Their underwater dancing takes place in a context of rapid social change, where the generalization of the formal education, the progressive consolidation of western moral values and the potential openness of more attractive livelihoods not linked to the sea, seem to be forging a social negotiation of the household economic strategies initiated by the oldest generation during the 60's.

Credits Produced by Enrique Alonso, David Palazón ; production assistant Mario Gomes ; editing and post-production David Palazón ; graphic designer Fredrik Stürmer ; underwater filming: Nelson Turquel, Nuno da Silva, Beatriz Marciel, Enrique Alonso ; speargun camera: Mario Gomes ; music: popular songs from Ataúro. 
Performer Divers and fishers interviewed (in order of appearance): Sara Tilman [and eight others] ; people of Adara (in order of appearance): Sara Tilman [and sixty-four others] 

Further information available from

With fundraising support from the European Union.

Audio in Tetun and Rasua with subtitles in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Awards Official selection, Aperture Festival, Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary, Melbourne, 2013.  American Online Film Awards, Spring Showcase 2014, official selection. 
Subjects Women fishers -- Timor-Leste.  |  Women divers -- Timor-Leste.  |  Timor-Leste -- Social life and customs.
Other authors/contributors Palazón, David, filmmaker, film producer, photographer  |  Alonso, Enrique, filmmaker, film producer, director of photography, interviewer, translator  |  Turquel, Nelson, director of photography, photographer, interviewer  |  Hill, Hector, translator  |  Mouraud, Adeline, translator  |  Hamaide, Aurélie, translator  |  Mencari, Giacomo, translator  |  Secondini, Giulia, translator  |  Margarida, Elis, translator  |  Viera, Márdio, translator  |  Viegas, Graça, translator  |  Brüheim, Valdo, translator  |  Marciel, Beatriz, director of photography, translator  |  Lola, translator  |  Gomes, Mario, film producer, director of photography  |  Stürmer, Fredrik  |  Silva, Nuno da, director of photography  |  Tilman, Sara, interviewee  |  Secretariat of the Pacific Community  |  SciCOFish  |  European Union, sponsoring body
Also Titled

Mermaids of Timor-Leste


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    mt 2014-14
    Copy: 1 DVD
    Main Reading Room

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.